Understanding independent schools in Australia
Independent schools in Australia have a long and storied history, dating back to the early 19th century. Many of these schools were founded by religious institutions, and their traditions continue to influence education in Australia today. Over time, independent schools have evolved to encompass a wide range of educational philosophies, catering to diverse student needs. One of the defining characteristics of independent schools is their autonomy in governance and funding. Unlike government schools, which are funded by state or territory governments, independent schools are primarily funded by tuition fees and often supplemented by philanthropic donations. This financial independence grants them greater control over the curriculum, teaching methods, and school policies.
Terminology and things to know about Australian schools
For those moving to Australia, there are a few differences in school terminology and structure. The Australian education system is divided into several levels: primary school (grades K-6), secondary school (grades 7-12), and tertiary education (university or vocational training) and children normally start school at age five. Another big difference is the school year, which runs from the end of January to the start of December (so be sure to factor this into your moving plans). Finally, when talking about independent schools, the schools often refer to themselves as ‘private schools’ or ‘non-government schools’ and use these terms interchangeably.
What are the benefits of independent schools in Australia?
The Australian education system is considered to be world-class. When comparing schools in Australia, many parents tend to favour independent schools over government-funded institutions (especially for senior education) to help their children achieve high ATAR results
Independent schools in Australia are said to offer an incredibly bespoke learning experience that is very specific to the child. In addition, independent schools' SEND divisions are fantastic, providing peace of mind for parents whose children need a different style of learning or extra support. Alongside the premium facilities and extracurricular activities, independent schools in Australia don’t tend to be as pricey as other countries' private sectors, with top fees coming out at around 35,000 Australian dollars.
Do independent schools in Australia have a uniform?
Although the Aussies are known for their more casual and laid-back lifestyles, Australian schools still tend to require a uniform. Each independent school can choose its own dress code, with most including the school colours and logo on a blazer, paired with boat shoes and a hat.